Earlier this week, I was invited by a campus minister (@conover) to participate in a Doubt Day event. Basically, the cm had some pizzas and invited students to come, grab some food and ask questions and even express doubts about Christianity and its worldview. I always get nervous when doing these events. I feel like an outsider and I get nervous talking about serious spiritual matters, right out in the open in the student center as random people walk by. CC does a great job of setting the atmosphere and getting students to participate. It think the crowd was a mix of some of the students that attend his small group Bible study (both believers and seekers) and some random students who are genuinely curious about spiritual matters (along with a trouble maker or two, though nothing serious).
I got to admit, I was a little uneasy about seeing the guy with the "Bad Religion" t-shirt that had a cross with the red circle and slash through it. He asked a question about homosexuality that was not real thoughtful and had some serious historical inaccuracies (like the Catholic church had condoned gay marriage up until the 16th century. Didn't learn that in Church History). But we did have a portion of the time spent on Christianity and Homosexuality. I know I'm not telling anybody anything ground breaking, but we need to be able to lovingly express our views on homosexuality one, being true to the total gospel, and two, that doesn't sound like the Rev. Fred Phelps. CC and I tried to stress that it is a shame that a lot of evangelicals tend to stress the wickedness of homosexuality while ignoring some of the other sinful behavior that is also mentioned in the catalogue of vices in Paul's letters (like dissension, greed, jealousy, selfish ambition). We also tried to distinguish between orientation and behavior (which can be s sticky situation as well).
We also got into discussion about following the teaching of Jesus without buying into all of the Christian world view (exclusive nature of Christ). We pointed out, that if you buy into all of the great moral and ethical teaching of Jesus, you have to deal with his claim to be the only way to God. Therefore there is the dissonance of Jesus being both a great ethical teacher and potentially being the biggest egomaniac in history.
I would love to do something like this at Mizzou, but I'd would rather it be our Missio Dei students inviting seeking and skeptical friends to a more informal discussion than sitting out in the open. I fear I might be look at as one of Brother Jed's disciples in that situation. (Bro Jed's homepage)